Sunday, April 22, 2012

UTGOP 2012 convention: What the Hell?

I want to first offer my congratulations to the winners of last night’s convention, as well as support. Though we “radical libertarians” are often accused of stuff we’re not doing we do our due diligence for the party, as will I. While I am disgusted with David Kirkham who spent the last several months trashing Governor Herbert only to endorse him after being knocked out in the first round. Morgan Philpot had a philosophical and financial argument to make, that I believe was indeed a good one that would have resonated in a primary. We do need to get the state financially independent of federal dollars, but if there was inflammatory rhetoric it came from Kirkham who discredited himself, and Utah’s Tea Party by backing the very governor he was slamming. Whatever credibility the Tea Party had left in Utah it’s done now.
  That said, while things can always be better I do like Herbert, I have always defended him when I felt he was being unfairly attacked and I do hope we will get out of Common Core, and that he will lead the way in getting our lands back from the feds as well as cut the state budget dramatically. There is a link between municipal, state and federal spending and inflation. Our costs of living continue to rise while our wages stagnate. Inflation is always good for Wall Street and the big banks, it’s devastating for the ordinary citizen. Sadly this year there are too few candidates who have expressed an awareness of that and they were all defeated.
   My frustration comes not from the losses this year but rather the hypocrisy of the new delegates who went out of their way to let the newspapers know the “moderates” (whatever that means) were back, and that they would stop Utah’s GOP from being “too Republican” (per a delegate interview in the local newspaper). Scary thought. History has been re-written to suggest that Bob Bennett was somehow a hero to the state who was wronged by this elusive “Right Winged Extremist” while the insanity coming from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Debby Wasserman- Schultz and Barak Obama… heck the entire Democratic party has gotten a pass by this year’s delegation who have allowed the Democrats to define their fellow Republicans. They were so angry with the small handful of 2010 delegates who booed Bob Bennett two years ago and yet for reason I do understand when Utah Attorney General and all around great guy Mark Shurtleff got up to endorse former Utah State Rep and also all around great guy Carl Wimmer, Shurtleff was booed by the delegates, granted for a swipe he took at the competition, but still, these delegates are certainly not consistent. I thought booing elected officials was radical and extreme? Regardless of what was said these delegates are inconsistent. Bennett’s voting record was terrible and the delegates two years ago knew it. Bennett was booed because of his record, and if that is not okay than neither is what happened with Shurtleff. If booing is a sign of extremism then certainly the 2012 delegation remains extreme.
  Two years ago only a small fringe wanted to re-elect Bennett. When he lost the newspapers who had been bashing him as a “neo-radical conservative” over his long career him suddenly came rushing to his side to offer comfort and then Bennett was such a great team player that he lead the failed “Republicans for Granato (D)” movement… Sadly the newspapers won’t report that. Amazing how Utah Republicans allow the local media to trick us into doing things that benefit the Democrats. They love seeing our party eat itself alive, it means an easier time getting Democrats elected. Now they know for sure that all they have to do is point to a Republican and say “extreme” and Utahns will buy it. Consistency is important to being taken seriously. I have never booed an elected official, not even a Democrat. While Shurtleff’s comments were certainly regrettable, so too was Bob Bennett’s voting record and it’s not extreme to point that out.  I’m just saying…
  That said, Mia Love ran a good and clean campaign, but she will not escape the “extreme” label. It is Matheson’s MO. Herman Cain (an awesome candidate) had thought he too could escape the Democrat’s typical labels, and look what they did to him. We had hoped Justice Thomas would escape it, he didn’t, Alan Keys has been made into a pariah by the Democrats and when do Democrats go to Thomas Sowell or Walter E Williams for economic advice? (My two favorite contemporary economists by the way). There’s a long history of Democrats going to all kinds of ridiculous ends to pin ALL Republicans as extreme. Mia should have a T-shirt which reads: “Too Extreme (extreme is then crossed out) Awesome.”  In fact, you can buy this shirt as well as my Return to Normalcy shirt at my Zazzle page. Please follow the link:

make custom gifts at Zazzle   

  While I adore Carl Wimmer and am deeply saddened by his loss Mia is indeed an exciting candidate, I am just not as confident that this is a Republican year. Mia is a great candidate and all, don’t get me wrong but as long as republicans allow Democrats to define Republicans we cannot win. She can only avoid the extreme label until Matheson applies it to her and he will. Unfortunately Matheson’s name will have him re-elected into perpetuity unless God himself casts a vote, as J Rueben Clark said God did with the final term of FDR. We are so deeply divided as a party it’s not even funny. I fully intend to support her, I want Matheson out, but the challenges ahead of her cannot be ignored. Matheson will paint her an extremist, and oh… yes he can, and yes he will. Why? Because Utah Republicans let Democrats define them.
  Two years ago a fairly diverse (for Utah) delegation came in and demanded change. This year it was a sea of white senior citizens in the delegate seats surrounded by young volunteers. The young were still demanding change while the old, for the most part, demanded the status quo. Two years ago we got in in a fairly orderly manner in a mostly civil process (sans some booing of Bennett which was regrettable and again I did not participate in or condone). This year the same sort of incivility was on display but because the target wasn’t Progressive Icon Bob Bennett no one will write about it and if they do they will focus on taking what was said out of context, today no one wants to review Bennett’s voting record to put the booing he endured into context. Because I live now in CD2 it got so much worse. The great quote of the event was from a delegate in a competing campaign who approached the mic to address the party Chairman, Thomas Wright; “What the hell?” I second the motion.
   A Mia Love volunteer commented to me that this night would give me weeks worth of blog materials. Indeed, but I’m a good sport so I’m doing this one and then focusing on getting the winners elected, not because I’m a shill, but because it’s what I do. I am always there for the party, even when I am let down.
   I believe Thomas Right and the party leadership had hoped to show the Convention system works to end criticism coming from the party’s Progressive wing lead by Kirk Jowers and Olene Walker, among other party has-beens. I believe that it would have worked had CD2 not erupted into total chaos, but the insanity of that race will surely doom the caucus and convention system, even though I stand readily by it, despite losing all but one of the races I was involved in (and just to ease any Hatch supporter’s worries, no I had not been involved in the Senate races), I still believe in the system, but something went horribly wrong in CD2, and naturally the newspaper got it way wrong.
   As a volunteer for the Wallack campaign I know Howard well enough to know that he would not be involved in any backroom shenanigans. Cherylin Eager is likewise a decent and honorable woman who was my 2nd choice. I am wary of Chris Stewart if only for his brother’s involvement in the temple mailer that went out on behalf of the Bennett campaign two years ago… I won’t accuse Chris Stewart of orchestrating the insanity because sources I know to be reliable have told me the whole thing was, in fact, orchestrated by David Clark as a last ditch attempt to save his own campaign by convincing his competitors to quit at convention and back him. I don’t know anything more than heresy but I do know what happened was the most despicable and disgusting display of dirty politics I have ever seen. I expect this sort of insanity from Democrats but not our party.
   Apparently someone sent out a mailer, I have heard that Chris Stewart sent one out warning delegates he was going to be attacked at convention, I have heard it was an attack letter from one of the other candidates, I have only seen physical evidence of the former. (See image to the right). I don’t know Chris Stewart, I won’t attack his integrity, nor will I go after Dave Clark but no one attacked Chris Stewart at Convention, instead an unknown last minute entrant into the race, Milt Hanks, got up and accused the other candidates of conspiring against Chris Stewart. The tactic worked, Milt absorbed much of their support causing panic. Not knowing what else to do many of the candidates felt they had no choice but to back out, and of course Dave Clark’s folks were right there with the message of “Chris Stewart did this to you, you should back me because I can beat him!” Whatever shenanigans went on that lead to that moment you should know, I do not know if anyone actually heard me, but I was one of many volunteers that pleaded for my candidate to not go down that road. I believed that if they addressed the accusation briefly and pivoted back to the economy, at least Howard’s and maybe even Cherilyn’s race could have been salvaged. Sadly with all the confusion and pressure from Clark supporters these good, decent and honorable men and women found themselves duped into doing exactly what they had been accused of doing.
   The fracas on the floor from this will go down in infamy. Nothing like this chaos happened in 2010, I can’t speak to prior conventions, but whatever the real story, whether it was orchestrated by Chris Stewart himself in the tradition of the infamous temple mailer designed to generate a sympathy vote, or by Dave Clark to salvage his campaign, or an even crazier idea I heard on the floor, that Kirk Jowers engineered the whole thing to make the Caucus system look bad I can’t say. I do know that hearing what delegates had to say after the fiasco, I believe that serious trouble is looming for this system, this mess and the pending investigation  that will follow may be the final nail in the coffin and though I appreciate greatly Thomas Wright’s effort to show the system works (and it does and I fully support Thomas in his efforts) whatever triggered the CD 2 fiasco it’s going to be a whole lot harder to defend the caucus system.
   I do want to thank Thomas Wright and the party leadership though for their efforts. They are amazing people and I truly appreciate what they do. It’s been an honor to serve with them when and where I have been able to. At the end of the day we must come together as a party despite our disappointments and work to ensure that Jim Matheson and Barak Obama are not re-elected. For two years I have been pleading the case for party unity at a time one faction was out to “get the RINOS” and the other was “out to get the extremists.” At the end of the day we are all moderates, and we are all libertarians, To paraphrase Jefferson. But as he pointed out in that classic and unifying inaugural speech, not every disagreement is one of principal. Let us stand together on our common grounds and pray that we never have a night as crazy and insane as last night again.

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